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Islanders on Coll braved the worst of Storm Dennis to support the launch of a new local history group, Comunn Eachdraidh Cholla (Coll History Group) at An Cridhe community centre.
Their determination was rewarded with a display of historic materials, including prehistoric flint tools found on Coll and late 19th and early 20th century photographs.
Many of the scenes and people are long gone, but the group is determined to identify, preserve and share the historic information for the benefit of residents and the wider Coll community elsewhere.
The event began with a presentation highlighting the group’s concerns that Coll, despite its wealth of oral literature, had been left off the folklorists’ ports of call in the first half of the 20th century. With Coll Gaelic now on the point of extinction, this gap in the island’s record is of particular concern, and the group called for every effort to identify and record any Coll Gaelic speakers.
Speaking after the event, group chairwoman Jane Metcalfe said: ‘Our first concern is to make sure that as many people as possible know about the group and what we want to achieve. Putting on our first event was part of letting people know.
‘On behalf of the group, I would like to thank everyone who came along and who contributed to the amazing range of information gathered for the day.
‘Everyone with links to Coll has a story to tell and we are interested in all these stories, whether spoken, written, photographic or linked to an object. This is a huge task and we will, of course, have to prioritise.
‘The stories of older members of the community and the capturing of native, spoken Coll Gaelic are two immediate concerns. One of our first steps is to organise some training in oral history recording. This will be open to anyone interested in helping.’
Coll History Group welcomes all ideas, stories or help from anyone with a link to the island or who is interested in Coll’s history and Gaelic. Those who want to get involved should email firstname.lastname@example.org